Wests Tigers have made inquiries with Wigan over the possibility of bringing 2019 Dally M Player of the Year John Bateman to the NRL in 2023.
In a move unrelated to Isaiah Papalii, who is having second thoughts about switching from Parramatta to Concord next year, Tigers director of football Tim Sheens has confirmed the club have made an approach.
Bateman is contracted to Wigan until at least the end of 2024 and the Warriors have blocked a move to the Tigers for now.
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Bateman was one of the back-rowers in the NRL in 2019, the year the Canberra Raiders made the grand final, due to a contract dispute with the Green Machine during his tenure in the national capital.
Bateman will return to England at the end of the 2020 NRL season after signing a four-year contract with Wigan until the end of 2024.
The Raiders were forced to pay Bradford a transfer fee of $250,000 to bring Bateman to the NRL for the first time, but a bonus with transfer fees for English clubs are not included in the salary cap for NRL clubs.
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Bateman’s approach is a creative one from Shane’s to look outside the box and devise recruiting methods to improve West’s Tigers roster.
The Tigers have made some recruiting moves this week, re-signing Brent Naden, Asu Kepoa and Starford Toa, but the real area of recruitment that will be busy is the re-signing of Adam Doehy.
Duhi is easily the Tigers’ best player, a local junior and the kind of leader West Tigers need to build the club.
With Shanes and Benji Marshall now at the helm, they’re bound to avoid management types to at least make another mistake.
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In the case of Douhey, he will be a free agent from November 1 and rival clubs could be sure to be lining up to convince the five-eighth to switch allegiances.
The Tigers should calculate their lead and try to get a long-term deal done before stronger clubs come to an agreement.
Melbourne Storm Duheen has had one crack at being on loan this year and the Tigers five-eighth would be a good replacement if Cameron Munster’s future is uncertain.